At our last monthly staff meeting one of my co-workers shared an article by Amy Morin that described 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude that will motivate you to give thanks year round. She prefaced the article with the statement – “Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.” I read the article, and it is so true – being grateful and thankful throughout the year tends to have tremendous benefits on your quality of life.
In fact, gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude does not cost any money and it certainly does not take much time, but the benefits are enormous. According to Morin, research reveals gratitude can have these seven benefits:
• Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship and new opportunities.
• Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors.
• Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. The research of Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
• Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner and were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They displayed more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
• Grateful people sleep better. Start a “gratitude journal” and spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
• Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study found that gratitude increased an athlete’s self-esteem. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
• Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience.
We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve. Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. I confess that when people (particularly in the customer service industry) ask “How are you today?” I love to respond – “I am fortunate”. They always seem puzzled by that response, but that is how I feel, and trust me – that feeling can carry you through a lot.
I know Quinte Mall is doing some great radio advertising for the Gift Wrap booth, but it never hurts to remind people of this fabulous service. This year the booth is located by the model train (Sport Chek and Winners) and every dollar donated helps seniors keep their independence – at home.